Vivek is back…and we are all smarter for it!
When we talk about lamb, most of us think about those beautiful lamb chops or a big hunk of bone in leg of lamb that you eat during Easter, right? And those pieces of lamb don’t come cheap either. But if you know a little bit about lamb anatomy, then you can really navigate the meat department to find some awesome, high quality, and delicious lamb for only a fraction of the costs. The shoulder is a great place to get meat from, on any animal (like that BBQ pulled pork you love so much – yeah, it’s from the shoulder). With lamb, your butcher can cut the shoulder into 1 inch steaks. The idea being that we can take that cut of meat and apply a few techniques in order to make it moist and tender.
What you want to do is get the steaks and remove the bones (which you can save for stock), cover them with some plastic, and pound it out until it’s about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. This process of pounding tenderizes the meat and allows you to cook it quickly. By breading the lamb, it’s going to create great contrast of texture, with a really crispy crust and juicy meat. It’s kinda like that pork milanese or veal milanese you may get at an Italian restaurant. With something as rich as the lamb, you want some ingredients that will cut through the richness and refresh your palette. That’s what the radish-cucumber salad does – beautifully fresh and acidic. The tzatziki sauce brings everything together – it’s creamy, garlicky, and cool.
It’s all about learning some good techniques and understanding how you can make a composed dish. Because that’s how we roll on Higher Learning!
Have the salad and sauce prepared before you start on the lamb.
For the radish salad:
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves picked
2 bunches of radishes
1 english cucumber
Add the shallot to a bowl and season with salt. Add the vinegar, oregano, and olive oil. Taste and reason if you need to. Thinly slice the radishes and add to the dressing. Halve the cucumber lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cut into half moons. Add the cucumber to the radish mixture. Season with salt to taste.
For the tzatziki:
1/2 English cucumber
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
2 cups greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch of mint, leaves picked, and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
Grate the cucumber over a strainer over a bowl. Add the garlic and salt. Set aside for the cucumber to drain – about 15 minutes.
In another bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, and mint. Season with salt and black pepper. Squeeze out the excess moisture of the cucumber and then add it to the greek yogurt mixture. Stir to combine.
For the lamb:
4 blade lamb chops, bones removed
4 cups all purpose flour
4 eggs, whisked
4 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the flour, eggs, and panko into 3 separate dishes. This is a traditional breading – flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Season everything with salt and pepper. Add the parmesan to the bread crumbs and stir to combine.
Cut the lamb into equal medallions, cover in plastic wrap, and pound with a meat mallet or a heavy pan to about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch in thickness. Dredge pieces in flour, and dust off the excess. Then into the egg, and finally cover completely with breadcrumbs. Put on a plate while you dredge all the pieces.
Place a plan over medium high heat with enough oil to cover the bottom. Once the oil is hot, add the dredged pieces and cook until beautifully golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
To serve, spoon some of the tzatziki sauce on the plate. Top with the lamb chops and garnish with the radish salad. Squeeze a lemon juice over the top and you’ll have an awesome meal!